T Nation

Camera DSLR People

any input on the following:

Nikon D5100 (seems most common complaint is shutter malfunction and black images) otherwise great reviews

Nikon D3100 - picture image/quality not as good as above, but overall no malfunction issues

Canon T1i

looking at used ones for the wife for Christmas, total novice.

How is the camera going to be used? What types of photos would you say you generally take? Landscapes, sports, portraits, night, just everyday snapshots around the house?

Is she looking to get into the hobby? If not, it’s a waste of money. I got into the hobby a few years ago (Canon XTI) and it takes a lot of practice to take really good pictures. The pictures won’t look much better than a brand new point and shoot if you don’t get the settings right. Good lenses are very expensive too. $300 up to $2000.

I like Canon because I know a lot of people with those cameras and the lenses are interchangeable between any Canon model. If you do go the Canon route, the following lens is the best value:

It doesn’t have a zoom but is great for portraits and taking pictures of foliage. Very sharp image for the price. If you put it on your watchlist, you can get it for like $80.

A great site for camera reviews is : http://www.dpreview.com/reviews . They have sample pictures from the cameras as well so you can see what they’re capable of.

She says she would like to get into learning photography, will she? I don’t know :wink:

Not sure what it would be used for. I’d say mainly portraits and landscape

Sorry, wall of text.

I feel that a lot of photography isn’t so much which camera to get, but in knowing how to use it and manipulate it to get the look you want. Like sam_sneed said if you don’t know what you’re doing, or just shooting in AUTO all your pictures will look like they came from a point and shoot. Along with knowing how to manipulate your camera, being able to see things creatively and being able to visualize what kind of composition you want will make the biggest difference. I would pick up a photography book or two. I liked Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure as to the basics on how your camera and lenses work.

As far as equipment goes I would say lens choice is more important than the camera body itself. All the prices I’ll list are for Nikon lenses and from B and H Photography.

For portraits, or shooting photos of the kids around the house, I use a 50mm f/1.4. You can would definitely go with a 50mm f/1.8 since The f/1.8 is cheaper and considering I rarely go below f/2.0 you could get away with that.

A fixed lens isn’t very good for landscape photography though. For that you could get away with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ($99) and a 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ($150-250, depending on if you want vibration reduction). That’s what I’ve used, I do find it gets irritating having to switch lenses all the time so an 18-200mm lens would would make it easier but runs $850.

As far as the camera goes, I’m partial to Nikon. Mainly it’s because it was what I was familiar with since it is what we use at work, and reviews, I had read at the time I bought my camera, suggested that their lenses are better. Between the D3100, D3200 or the D5100… I don’t have a strong preference either way. The D3200 does have 8 MP more and apparently has a Guide Mode that tells you how to set the camera for whatever picture type you are trying to take, which might help, but it would probably take less time to read a photography book.

[quote]p-dubs wrote:
Sorry, wall of text.

I feel that a lot of photography isn’t so much which camera to get, but in knowing how to use it and manipulate it to get the look you want. Like sam_sneed said if you don’t know what you’re doing, or just shooting in AUTO all your pictures will look like they came from a point and shoot. Along with knowing how to manipulate your camera, being able to see things creatively and being able to visualize what kind of composition you want will make the biggest difference. I would pick up a photography book or two. I liked Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure as to the basics on how your camera and lenses work.

As far as equipment goes I would say lens choice is more important than the camera body itself. All the prices I’ll list are for Nikon lenses and from B and H Photography.

For portraits, or shooting photos of the kids around the house, I use a 50mm f/1.4. You can would definitely go with a 50mm f/1.8 since The f/1.8 is cheaper and considering I rarely go below f/2.0 you could get away with that.

A fixed lens isn’t very good for landscape photography though. For that you could get away with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ($99) and a 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ($150-250, depending on if you want vibration reduction). That’s what I’ve used, I do find it gets irritating having to switch lenses all the time so an 18-200mm lens would would make it easier but runs $850.

As far as the camera goes, I’m partial to Nikon. Mainly it’s because it was what I was familiar with since it is what we use at work, and reviews, I had read at the time I bought my camera, suggested that their lenses are better. Between the D3100, D3200 or the D5100… I don’t have a strong preference either way. The D3200 does have 8 MP more and apparently has a Guide Mode that tells you how to set the camera for whatever picture type you are trying to take, which might help, but it would probably take less time to read a photography book.
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Thanks, the D3200 seems a bit out of my price range.

I can pick up a new D3100 for $380 or a new D5100 for $455

the 5100 seems to outperform picture quality wise, but not sure I want to risk the shutter issue.